Week 7: East Valley Presbyterian Church, 17 February 2008

We’re probably impossible to please on this front, because we’d almost rather be invisible for this project, so I’m not complaining that we were ignored. No one at the East Valley Presbyterian Church even really said, “Hello” to us this morning before the passing of the Peace. This was a little strange, because it’s yet another small (about 60 people) church in Otis Orchards, and we were definitely out of place (too young for the demographic). I recognized several people there, but since they were “out of context” I couldn’t remember where I knew any of them from. I think the one woman works at the local gas station, but I thought that of a second woman until I ran into her at Target this evening. Not that they’d recognize me–I’m the Ultimate Generic Caucasian Woman–really–I look like someone you know, or your cousin, or an old friend. I’m of medium height, have mousy brown hair (that’s rapidly turning silver, and is therefore even more mousy), and I have no distinguishing features.

During the passing of the peace, many people came and introduced themselves to us. I got the distinct impression that they don’t often have visitors, because at least 5 different people said to me, “Good Morning, I’m blank, and I’m not wearing my nametag.” One woman added, “I think I’ll go put it on now.” One of the reasons I suspect they don’t have many visitors is because it’s extremely difficult to find out when their service is. They have an electronic marquee on the street (the Eagle Scout project of a local Boy Scout), but it flashes the date, temperature, and some kind of quote. We pulled in to the parking lot a few weeks ago, but the service time isn’t on the door, either. Michael finally found it on the Presbytery’s page.

My brother tells a story about a friend of his who showed up to a church where new folks were asked to stand and identify themselves. On this particular Sunday, his friend and another young man both stood and introduced themselves to the congregation. At coffee hour, they were ignored my the rest of the congregation, and wandered over and found each other. They became good friends-were eventually each other’s best men–but neither of them became members of that church.

East Valley Presbyterian didn’t have a chance to do follow up with us, as they were having a pot luck that was combined with the discernment for the future process, and we declined to stay. We were invited, but we didn’t want to join a consensus process that was gathering ideas for how to plan for the future of the physical plant of a church we’re not likely to join. In this process we’re not “church shopping” as much as we’re exploring other parts of our religion, and giving Farmergirl some of the exposure we had as children that she hasn’t.

The service was more liturgical than I expected, though Michael informs me that the PCUSA has always been fairly liturgical. I think the last time I was in a PCUSA church was when my parents lived in upstate New York, before Farmergirl (now 12) was born. I hadn’t become anything yet, and I’m not sure I’d ever been in an Episcopal church at that point, so I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have recognized it as “liturgical” at the time.

Contrary to what is written in the bulletin (referred to as the “Worship Folder”), the sermon was not about “Calling God ‘Father,'” though that might have been interesting, in that there seemed to be a concerted effort in the language to just call God “God” and not use pronouns. The sermon was about our faith being demonstrated through our action.

One of the stories the reverend told this morning in her sermon was that of Robbie Brown and Elizabeth Sholtys. The short story is this: As a freshman, Elizabeth conceived, and then started the Ashraya Initiative for Children in Mumbai (watch the YouTube video at the bottom of the page). At graduation, Robbie Brown decided to give the full $20,000 of his Mc Mullen Award to the AIC.

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This is the original Space Holding Note, written before the Weekly Report:

I will have a question this week, which is what the purpose of a detached steeple is? I mean, I get the idea of the steeple housing the bell. But what’s the purpose of a steeple that’s sitting out on the lawn?

We’re going out with friends this afternoon for a late Valentine’s Day dinner (or rather, an early dinner, that’s late for Valentine’s Day). Anyway, we’re going to Anthony’s, which I didn’t realize was a (small) chain, but about which I’ve heard many good things.

More on that–and the presbyterians–later.

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2 Responses to Week 7: East Valley Presbyterian Church, 17 February 2008

  1. Pingback: 52 Churches » Blog Archive » Week 34: New Hope FMC, 28 August 2008

  2. zachary says:

    hey so now I can leave comments, what do you know about that?
    I didnt realize that Pres would be liturgical at all, thats very interesting to note.
    now I am very interested to go back, reread and comment. Except for one week, that shall remain commentless.

    Teresa aka zachary

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